This week brought us another update from the Pokémon universe, the sort of news we tend to tiptoe into with crossed fingers, hoping that The Pokémon Company and Gamefreak have the courage to bring the franchise into the 21st century.
There were updates on the re-releases of Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl (now Brilliant and Shining respectively) as well as the brand new installment – Pokémon Legends: Arceus. A few things stood out for us, but what was your highlight? Let us know in the comments.
Very Breath of Wild.
Liam | Dangerous Pokémon
Arceus already looked good, thanks to it’s old-timey setting, but the latest trailer has me even more intrigued due to the reveal of dangerous Pokémon.
We’re so used to seeing ‘mon and humans coexisting and working together peacefully, that it’s easy to forget they’re big, powerful creatures that can easily do a lot of damage to a puny human trainer if they wanted to (although I do remember Pikachu electrocuting Jessie and James quite often in the original TV series).
Arceus looks like it’ll hammer this point home via the encounters with the, glowing, red-eyed Pokémon shown off in the trailer – the Ursaring chasing the trainer is particularly intimidating; that’s one bear hug you want to avoid!
The idea that Arceus’ wild Pokémon can be a threat to your safety introduces a completely new sense of jeopardy that’s often been missing in the series and helps add to the whole frontier-lifestyle theme the game looks to be going for.
The villager mentioning how “Pokémon are terrifying creatures!” in the trailer could also suggest that not everyone is a fan of them, which could make for interesting narrative conflicts with humans and Pokémon potentially clashing occasionally, or between those who seek out Pokémon and those who avoid them.
Not so cute when you know they can attack back.
Sam | Arceus’ ambitious alterations
Pokémon Legends: Arceus was the clear highlight of the August Pokémon Direct. The mainline Pokémon series has been in need of a spruce up for a while, and, for the most part, Legends: Arceus looks to fit the bill.
This Gamefreak spinoff is akin to a modern action RPG, rather than relying on the rigid old format that the franchise has been leaning on. For all its success and acclaim, Pokémon hasn’t changed all that much in nearly two decades now. There being multiple versions of every game, each with minimal differences, further contributes to the problem.
Replacing the cursory Wild Area of Sword and Shield with a true open world; implementing seamless battles and (seemingly) eliminating random encounters; making wild Pokémon hazardous to players’ health - all are long overdue changes. In one fell swoop, these tweaks will simultaneously make the world of Arceus more immersive and the gameplay more engaging.
While it’s a step in the right direction, the question of whether it’s enough remains. Ultimately, most of the changes are minor when the series is in need of a Breath of the Wild-style overhaul. Pokémon is the highest grossing entertainment property in the world, yet its games still look (and often feel) like AA productions.
It looks like battles with wild Pokémon might be more organic encounters.
What was your highlight from Pokémon Presents? Let us know.